Bangkok voted world's best city

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Bangkok was voted the world’s best city for 2008 and the Galapagos were picked as the best islands in an online poll by Travel + Leisure magazine, trumping last year’s winners Florence, Italy and Bali, Indonesia.

A mother and child are silhouetted by a rainbow arching over Bangkok's skyline on May 27, 2007. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Magazine readers also voted Singita Sabi Sand, at the Kruger National Park, South Africa, as the world’s top hotel while Singapore Airlines grabbed the best airline award again.

It was the first time that Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador topped their respective categories, said Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure.

Last year, Bangkok was ranked number 3 and the Galapagos number 8. The 2007 winners of best city and best island -- Florence an Bali -- fell to number 5 and number 2 respectively.

“We’re delighted to welcome so many new winners this year,” she said in a statement. “Nature, and adventure, were clearly a draw in the selections.”

Last year’s number one hotel, the Oberoi Udaivilas in India, fell to number 4 this year. Singita Sabi Sands was voted the number two hotel in 2007.

The results were complied from votes by magazine subscribers in an Internet poll which went live between January and March. Travel + Leisure will honour winners on July 24 in New York City.

The complete "World's Best Awards" is available on . Following are some highlights:

Best city - Bangkok, Thailand

Best hotel - Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa

Best island - Galapagos, Ecuador

Best cruise line (large ships) - Crystal Cruises

Best cruise line (small ships) - Silversea Cruises

Best international airline - Singapore Airlines

Best domestic airline - Virgin America

Best tour operator - Micato Safaris

Best car-rental agency - Hertz

Best hotel for $250 or less - Domaine des Hauts de Loire, France

Reporting by Miral Fahmy, editing by Belinda Goldsmith